Breaking down barriers in Australian agribusiness with confidence and a good support network.
Her first car was a 1979 Toyota Corona that she pushed further than she drove it. Yet, although this car was “a little” unreliable, grabbing a lift to the closest mechanic with local farmers taught April Cavanagh about the importance of confidence and finding a mutual connection or common ground.
As the Head of Agribusiness at Suncorp Bank and a leading female in Queensland’s agribusiness sector, April is highly respected for her dynamic leadership style, track record of transforming businesses, and the ability to get the job done (something we admire at Antola). She is renowned for being a passionate leader and has grown a reputation as being a terrific boss. Ask anyone who has worked with her, her team is her number one priority and is the first thing she checks on when she gets to work each morning.
Originally from Brewarrina in Outback NSW and now living in Toowoomba with her husband Luke and three boys, April acknowledges that there has been challenges as a woman in a what was traditionally a male dominated industry.
“There can be a perception of a Banker as someone who is a middle-aged male, who comes to speak to the husband while the wife does the book work. Coming from a farming family in a regional area, I know how things work and you do have to back yourself in those situations,” said April.
Confidence is key for April and is a big part of how she has overcome these challenges to become the leader she is today.
“Having confidence in yourself is important, as well as a good support network. Regional Australia is a small place and being able to have a mutual connection or common ground really does help to break down barriers,” April shared.
April’s dynamic style of leadership is very much respected which she shares has come from her upbringing and role models.
“From an early age my dad instilled in me his amazing work ethic. As a single man raising 4 daughters, we never grew up thinking 'we can't do that'. As a business leader, Brene Brown's work on how courage and vulnerability are interconnected and embracing your imperfections has also helped me find my way,” said April.
A defining moment in April’s life was in 2017, when she was first on the scene to a motorbike/4WD road accident. April has been a big part of the rider’s recovery still today and feels very fortunate to have been able to get to know him as a great person and friend.
“Together we have since done some fundraising with the support of the Suncorp team and our local community, we have worked with the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation to create a local Rehab garden to help others like him. I can't wait to see it open, and get to write our own ending to a story that was very traumatic at the start,” said April.
April would love to see more young people able to make a start in life on the land saying,
“You'll have really tough days and really amazing ones too - you'll be a better person for both.” She leaves with us her favourite quote: “You can't skip chapters, that's not how life works - you have to meet every character, you have to read every line. You won't enjoy all of it, hell, some chapters will make you cry for weeks. You will read things you won't want to read. You will have moments you don't want the pages to end. But you have to keep going. Stories keep the world revolving. Live yours, don't miss out.”
We hope the ‘April’ shirt story will continue to break down barriers in Australian agribusiness and encourage women to build on confidence and support networks.